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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 5, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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the standoff over the fiscal cliff. kwame holman updates the state of the negotiations and we talk with tennessee republican senator bob corker. >> ifill: jeffrey brown examines new concerns over syria's chemical weapons capability and what, if anything, the u.s. can do about it. >> woodruff: from florida, hari sreenivasan has the story of endangered coral reefs. many of them dying because ocean temperatures are rising and the waters are more acidic. >> i remember seeing fields of elk horn coral that you couldn't see through it and you couldn't see beyond it and those same areas are dead you know 99% dead. ♪ >> ifill: and we close with a remembrance of jazz great dave brubeck who died today, one day shy of his 92nd birthday. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: the nation's third- largest bank, citigroup, announced big job cuts as it continues to scale back in the wake of the financial crisis. the 11,000 employees to be laid off worldwide, make up about 4% of the company's workforce. more than 6,000 of those jobs are in consumer banking.
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the move comes less than two months since a shakeup at citi ousting former c.e.o., vikram pandit. he was succeeded by michael corbat. the bank nearly collapsed during the crisis and ultimately received bailouts totaling $45 billion, money that citi has since repaid. roben farzhad has long watched the changes at citi for bloomberg "businessweek" and joins us again tonight. roben, welcome. today we heard that stocks soared on the news of these layoffs. what does that tell us about what was going on at citi? >> it's sad, actually. citigroup is know-- you could say the financial crisis is over but in the throes of an existential crisis. it doesn't know what it wants to be. investors have been clamoring for a while for citigroup to simplify, to shed payrolls, to be good at something. it does everything, but it isn't market leading, necessarily, in any one category. and by and large, they got the
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layoffs, at least the beginning round of layoffs that they wanted today. >> ifill: we know many of these layoffs are noin the u.s., but i assume part of the relationship the stocks went up is people thought citigroup was too fat and needed this cutting. >> yes. citigroup it peaked in size at about 375,000 employees at the beginning of 2008. and it's now closer to 260,000 employees. so it has-- it has let go of a lot of people to be sure. but it's still a massive, hulking institution, and it's the product of, really, a strategy of the past 15 years of rolling up banks, buying up assets in the ground, in far-flung emerging markets. it's all over the world. it's in colombia. it's in pakistan. 7 and that really was the imprimatture that the recent c.e.o., vikram pandit, inherited
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and he thought it was the strongest part of the bank. the new c.e.o., michael corbat, came in and said we're too big. we're too sprawling for any focus and we're going to have to pull back in places like pakistan and romania. >> ifill: so the new schettino ic.e.o. ismaking this step as as much as a recalbraigz from the bank? >> you can only expect that from a new c.e.o.ptz who comes in at the board's behest way new pair of cold eyes and what citigroup is in its current iteration, is not working, not for the bank. it's not efficiently turning out profits the way its competitors like wells fargo, and w.j.morgan who have eclipsed it after the great bailout of 2008. you sea the c.e.o. pushed out by the board and the new c.e.o. come this and given a mandate to effectively turn this
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massive super tanker arndt. >> ifill: it makes thee think this is a first step. are there more layoffs to come? >> this has been going on across wall street actually since 2011. there have been north of 300,000 layoffs. you have seen it at u.b.s., bank of america, which is strug ling with the own acquisitions. you have even seen it at goldman sacs, one of the winners after the financial crisis. it's actually, if you talk to these bank c.e.o.s they will tell you it's a difficult time to run a multinational bank. even with the bailout, and interest rates of 0 for four years, even when they offer you and me nothing on our savings and checking accounts they say in their own defense, we're dealing with unprecedented regulation. we have to curb proprietary trading. we have regulators breathing down our neck and it's hard to earn an extra buck in that environment. you're seeing citi, in fact,
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address those concerns in the layoff announcement today. >> ifill: what does that tell bus the health of the banking sector and whether other big banking institution might be following suit? >> citigroup is not as mump an indicator species as i think people would want it to be. 15 years ago, it was the financial supermarket. it rolled everything together. it's one-stop shopping, and that mold has been called into question, not least by the architect of this model, sandy wiel, saying we should break up the big banks. gwen, i think it tells us more about the end of the era of kind of this force conglomeration of bank where's bigger is naturally better. you have seen, obviously, too big to fail banks become too bigger to fail, such as j.p.morgan, or wells fargo which bought wachovia. but there are others who find
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they can't hit their stride with the asset they say accummed a decade ago. >> ifill: what we're watching happening at citigroup. does that make them an outlier or a sign of things to come? >> i think it's a little bit of both. citigroup, let's not forget, had to go in for two rounds of bailout money. there was even scuttlebut that the white house suggested this was a bank that should fail, that it was beyond rescue. it still has $1 fent billion of bad seeftz its sheets it's looking to get rid of. there are no easy answers for it. there is no overnight turnaround. and at the same time, it's a public company and shareholders are saying, "show me the progress." >> ifill: roben farzhad of "bloomberg business week," thank you very much. >> thank you, gwen, have a good night. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": senator bob corker on the fiscal crisis; the threat of chemical weapons in syria; florida's endangered coral reefs and the life and music of jazz pianist dave brubeck. but first, the other news of the
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day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the people of the southern philippines struggled to recover today from a deadly typhoon. nearly 300 were dead, and officials warned the number could go higher. more than half the victims were in the compostela valley province. the storm made landfall there, early on tuesday. we have a report narrated by richard pallot of "independent television news." >> reporter: a mother cradles her terrified daughter, but at reist they have found shelter. so many didn't at the cost of many hundreds of lives. gustes of nearly 100 miles per hour ripping through the southern philippines, triggering landslides and floods. authorities describe how entire families were just washed away. much of the initial rescue operation was in the dark with electricity and communications cut off. entire villages waiting for the lights to see what was left and who survived, many already hearing the worst.
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typhoons are common here with approximately 20 striking a year, but warnings from the president about the severity of this particular storm, so many philippineoze move out in advance. the death toll in the hundreds, rather than, perhaps, the thousands. >> this typhoon was much strong scer people were worried about the impact, so they heeded early evacuation calls. they moved to higher ground. they went to evacuation centers. and although current casualties are highly regrettable, it could have been much worse. >> reporter: the immediate issue is to get food to those most in need, those whose livelihoods have been destroyed. with agculture and infrastructure badly ruined, any further tycoons will have more far-reaching consequences. >> sreenivasan: a massive storm pounded the southern philippines last december as well, killing more than 1,200 people. in egypt, a political crisis deepened today as supporters
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and opponents of president mohammed morsi faced off in cairo. the two sides threw rocks, sticks and firebombs as night fell outside the presidential palace. at least 126 people were hurt. and there were reports that masked men set fire to morsi's political party headquarters. protests erupted last week after the president assumed sweeping powers and a committee dominated by islamists rushed through a new constitution. the nation's busiest port complex is back in business after an eight-day strike halted operations. the ports of los angeles and long beach, california reopened today after port operators and the worker's union reached an agreement late tuesday. the union said it won new protections against job outsourcing. port officials said during the walkout, they were unable to move some $760 million worth of cargo a day. wall street had a day of ups and downs and investors watched economic reports and weighed chances for a fiscal cliff deal in washington. the dow jones industrial average gained more than 82 points to close at 13,034.
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but the nasdaq fell nearly 23 points to close at 2,973. the day's big loser was apple, down more than 6% over concerns that smart phone sales are lagging. former texas congressman jack brooks has died. he served 42 years in the house, and was in the dallas motorcade on november 22nd, 1963 when president kennedy was assassinated. hours later, brooks was on hand as vice president and fellow texan lyndon johnson was sworn in to the presidency. later, brooks helped author the 1964 civil rights act, and he drafted the articles of impeachment against president nixon. jack brooks was 89 years old. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: lawmakers stepped up the rhetoric, but grew no closer today to agreement on how to avoid slipping over the so- called fiscal cliff. but each side demanded the other compromise. "newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage. >> i have to just tell you that is a... that is a bad strategy
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for america, it's a bad strategy for your businesses, and it is not a game that i will play. >> reporter: president obama today, in washington, assured business executives he'll reject attempts to link the fiscal cliff budget negotiations to future increases in the nation's debt ceiling. "the new york times" reported republicans might accept higher tax rates on wealthier americans to avoid triggering tax hikes for everyone. in return, they'd demand greater spending cuts next year before raising the federal borrowing limit. >> if congress in any way suggests that they're going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation, which, by the way, we have never done in our history until we did it last year, i will not play that game because we've got to... we've got to break that habit before it starts. >> reporter: the 2011 standoff
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between the president and republicans led the nation to the brink of national default. standard and poor's even lowered its rating on u.s. government bonds. now, the president has proposed he be given authority to raise the debt ceiling without congressional action. house republicans reject that idea. and they've called for raising revenue without rate hikes, plus major savings in entitlement programs. the president argued today a partial deal is possible on taxes, if the g.o.p. will agree to raise rates on the top 2%. >> and if we can get the leadership on the republican side to take that framework, to acknowledge that reality, then the numbers actually aren't that far apart. another way of putting this is, we can probably solve this in about a week. >> reporter: despite issuing a warning to congressional republicans, the president also expressed optimism that some gop lawmakers may be warming to the
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idea of allowing taxes on the wealthy to rise. but here at the capitol today, congressional republican leaders said the president should focus less on tax increases and more on spending cuts >> we put an offer on the table. now he has out of hand rejected that. where are the specifics? where are the discussions? nothing is going on. meanwhile the people of this country are the ones that suffer. >> reporter: house majority leader eric cantor claimed negotiations are deadlocked and the president isn't engaged. >> we have not had any discussion on any specifics with this president about the real problem, which is spending. we have got to do something about the spending. an obsession to raise taxes is not going to solve the problem. what will solve the problem is doing something about the entitlements, taking on the wasteful spending in washington. >> reporter: and house speaker >> reporter: still, republican senator tom coburn of oklahoma said the emphasis on the short term solution ignores the
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country's larger financial problems. >> personally, i know we have to raise revenue i don't really care which way we do it. actually, i would rather see the rates go up than do it the other way because it gives us a greater chance to reform the tax code and broaden the base in the future. >> reporter: and in a web video, former republican senator alan simpson made a lighthearted attempt to get younger americans interested in lowering the national debt. >> take part or get taken apart these old coots will clean out the treasury before you get there. >> reporter: for now, though, official washington enters another weekend in stalemate with across-the-board tax hikes and huge spending cuts looming at year's end. white house officials said today the office of management and budget has asked federal agencies for contingency plans-- in case there's no deal, and the spending cuts start to take effect come january. >> woodruff: we continue our series of conversations on this hotly debated topic. earlier this week we heard from erskine bowles and paul krugman. tonight, we hear from a senate republican who has proposed his own plan to dodge the fiscal
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cliff. it includes limiting tax deductions, but no increase in marginal tax rates. and it would change eligibility for medicare and social security over the longer term. bob corker is from tennessee and joins us now from capitol hill. senator, welcome, and first of all, we heard late today that there was a phone conversation between the president and speaker boehner. have you heard anything about that? >> no, i haven't. i've been in multiple conversations today about this. but i've been in a meeting until right now for the last two hours. so i have not been aware of the phone conversation. sphwhrood well, we not hearing any reports other than the fact the call took place, but the fact that it took place, is that good news? >> oh, i don't know, judy. i think there are a the love discussions about what is the best way to get the type of entitlement reforms that everyone knows needs to take
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place, both republicans and democrats. judy, i have been in i don't know how many meetings in the last two years where there is a lot of commonality around the issue. as you know, the president has been, you know, sort of a-- not to be pejorative, but sort of a one-trick pony on this tax rate increase issue. what that's doing is putting all the focus on revenues, and no doubt, the american people are concerned about maybe being hostages, if you will, with tax increase at the end of the year. so there are a lot of discussions about the real and best ways to actually cause these reforms to take place-- again, reforms that both democrats and republicans acknowledge. but the president has not yet put on the table. so we'll see. i don't think, for what it's worth, for those of you, for those people who listen in to your program, i do not think we'll get to a situation at year end where, you know, armageddon occurs. i do think the debt ceiling in an important date-- go ahead
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i'll let you talk. >> woodruff: i want to ask you about entitlements but you were quotequoted on reuters saying yu were hearing whispers on the house side of the capitol, maybe some movement on tax rates. do you think there is some movement in that direction among republicans in the house? >> well i just think there's a discussion-- trade center a discussion about what is the west-- best way to get the outcome. an outcome where we save our nation. where we come up with at least $4.5 trillion in savings and we know it will be revenues i laid out a bill-- most people don't tho, judy-- that raid out specifics, that really moved our country towards solvency. there was a discussion. does it make sense to continue on the rate issue or is it better to turn the phoenix some other place? there is a lot of discussions, and i think by the way, this
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haebt healthiest day i can remember regarding moving towards a place i think gets us the right kind of outcome that the nation needs at this point. >> woodruff: i hear you saying that there's more movement in the direction of what the president wants on raising tax rates for that income over $250,000 a year than what is being said publicly? >> well, let me just-- let me make it slightly broader. there's movement in a lot of directions, and i do think that republicans are beginning to be aware that the president-- and again i'm not trying to be pejorative-- but the president is really not laying out anything specific on entitlements, so i do think republicans are looking at, look, we'd like to solve our nation's problem. what is the best way to get us in a place where we actually have the leverage-- which, unfortunately, it takes-- the leverage to get us where we need to go as a country.
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look, there are a lot of healthy discussions that are taking place, and i do think again, from my standpoint, someone who really cares about this issue, cares about its economic growth that would ensue january 1 or whenever we put this in the rearview mirror, the country would just take off economically. and i think today from my standpoint has been the very best day since we've returned from recess. >> woodruff: so, again, what i'm hearing you saying is if there's movement in that direction, it sowns like you're staying at least there's conversation about it, then that would open the door to some work on entitlement. now, the white house would say the president has given some on entitlements -- medicare, as part of his health care reform. >> yeah. >> woodruff: but do you see the coming together, the makings of an agreement there? >> i don't. and i don't. and i think that's where all of us who really want to see these
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programs stay solvent. we want them to be there for seniors down the road. we want to save our nation's solvency, i think there's a lot of thinking about the best way to actually cause the president to actually come forth with a real plan. and that's not the case now. and it just isn't. so, look, as you know, judy, i've outlined a very detailed bill that i think most of which at some point in time is going to become law. and the longer we put this off, the deeper the hole gets, so we're trying to focus on how do we get this done now-- >> woodruff: let me ask you about part of your plan. part of it would means test social security, medicare benefits. in order, the benefits would go down for those at the higher income levels. we had the economist paul krugman on the "newshour" last night who said that, you know, not only do the polls show many
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american oppose, this but he said the benefit you get, the money that would be raised from doing that is really not enough to overcome the pain that he said it would cause lower and middle-income americans. >> well, first of all, it would cause no pain to lower and middle-income citizens because they wouldn't be affected. and i agree, it's only one of the things that needs to occur. it's a small part. there are many manager transformative things that need to happen in social security and medicare and my bill outlines both transformative things to really make them solvent. there's a $27 trillion unfund liebilityd there. let's go to me-- why in the world would american citizens subsidize my medicare? i've been very successful in business. i've been very fortunate to be in a country that allows that to occur. i'm in an income category where it's perfectly ridiculous for the american citizens to
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subsidize my medicare. and i think most people in my category would absolutely agree that, that's the case. so i understand what he's saying, but it makes no sense to me because it has zero effect on low- and and middle-income citizens because they would not be means tested. >> woodruff: and just finally, senator, a question very quickly on the debt ceiling, the president made it clear today he thinks there's no justification for continuing to have these debt ceiling votes connected to the discussions about taxes and entitlement. >> i heard that. and i know he had a different position when he was in the senate. if you look back historically, judy, those are the points in time when you're able to deal with some of the deficit issues -- and by the way, government is only funded through march, anyway. so regardless of the debt ceiling, there's still the issue of the fact that we have-- we have only funded government through march. there are two points, the funding of government and the
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debt ceiling and i would agree with you, that it's unfortunate that a 11 reg point like that has to be used. we should sit down to solve the problem. but the it's the only thing thus far that produced results -- we got the budget control act last time-- to really take our nation towards solvency. i would agree with you. i wish we could sit down and self-solve it. i think there is a majority in the hous house and senate that t to do that, but the only two negotiators that matter right now are the president and speaker boehner. and as i mentioned before-- again, i understand there are two sides of this tale-- the president is really not yet offering the kind of reforms that would make these programs solvent for the long haul so we're trying to think how do we get there. so very healthy discussion today. i'm enthused about today, and i hope we'll resolve this over the course of the next several weeks. >> woodruff: senator bob cork ethank you very much. >> thank you.
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>> woodruff: we will have more perspectives in the coming days. >> ifill: next, two takes on the war in syria. as the conflict rages on, there are new concerns this week that the assad government is moving closer to the use of chemical weapons. jeffrey brown has that part of the story. >> brown: the syrian civil war has now closed in on president bashar al-assad's seat of power, with rebel gunfire ringing out again today in damascus. amateur video also showed new shelling in the capital, as government forces continued a push to retake key suburbs. and while the noise of war grows louder in damascus, so have fears around the world that assad may resort to chemical weapons. the syrian government has a number of sites containing what may be the largest chemical weapons stockpile in the world. it's made up largely of sarin nerve gas, mustard gas and
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cyanide. on monday, president obama sounded a warning, amid reports of unusual activity at the weapon sites. >> the world is watching. the use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable. >> reporter: assad's regime answered that it would never use such weapons against its own people, but today, at nato headquarters in brussels, secretary of state hillary clinton renewed the warning. >> our concerns are that increasingly desperate assad regime might turn to chemical weapons, or might lose control of them to one of the many groups that are now operating within syria. so, as a part of the absolute unity that we all have on this issue, we have sent an
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unmistakable message that this would cross a red line. and those responsible would be held to account. >> brown: that was a view shared by u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon, speaking at a climate conference in qatar. >> the country has a fundamental responsibility to keep this stockpile of chemical weapons in the safest way. i have warned that if in any case these should be used then there will be huge consequences and they should be accountable. >> brown: and as fears of chemical warfare grow, the humanitarian crisis has steadily worsened. more refugees streamed into turkey today, fleeing syrian air raids. >> brown: for more on the syrian chemical weapons threat i'm joined by leonard spector, a weapons and nonproliferation expert with the monterey institute of international studies.
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that can be hard to say. welcome back. the white house says it has increased concern the government might be prepared to use these weapons. what does that mean? what are they seeing? >> we don't know precisely what they're seeing. there are rumors that there is some sort of preparation for the chemicals that would be used in these weapons. there are preliminary steps that sometimes are taken. they she the delivery of protective gear at certain locations. we don't quite know, but i don't think the president would have made this comment and sen secretary clinton afterwards without there being some pretty serious indicators that we were getting close to possible use. >> brown: one of the things we're hearing is the potential for mixing compounds. what would that mean? >> at least the sarin is thought to be in two parts, the binary weapon, and it has to be mixed together prior to the time the weapon is actually used. sometimes the mixing occurs within the weapon itself, and sometimes the mixing occurs beforehand and the weapon is filled with the actual
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dangerous, lethal chemical agent. >> brown: now if this is said to be one of the world's largest stockpiles, how hard is it to stop, or how hard is it to deal with? would we even know if he was ready to use it? >> that's one of the big problems. you might not know precisely how close he was to using them and it might be very hard to head this off at the moment of imminence, just before it was about to occur. if you try to do it at that moment, you may actually cause the chemicals themselveses to explode into the air because of your effort top to the attack, which could have its own consequences, which would be pretty horrifying. so we may be in a mode where to really take substantial military action, we may have to wait and see the actual use. there may be some kind of evidence that would be so compelling and so persuasive and so easy to explain to the world that this was just about to happen that we have to send troops in, or something of that kind, but it's hard to imagine, especially with the legacy of
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the iraq war where we-- >> brown: we have a map your organization created. i want to put that up so you can explain how spread out the sites are. >> correct. so you have, i think, on that particular map, a number of site where's there are major storage areas and a number of production sites. and what one is hearing is the weapons have also been disbursed perhaps to military bases, not necessarily recently, but historically. so you have a number of locations that would have to be secured if you were really trying to go in and control everything. you might not get it all. and you certainly don't want to take the approach of destroying it from the air because, again, you almost certainly will have off-site cons qebses. the gulf war syndrome that everyone has heard about may have been the result of the destruction of chemical weapon in iraq. , in the first gulf war, which, you know, even though it was a cloud of very, very dilute chemicals that may have had this impact on american forces.
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>> brown: that's the problem with a potential bombing. >> that's right. >> ifill: gloun then there's talk about a ground effort, and i saw the "new york times" recently quoted pentagon officials saying it would require more than 75,000 troops. now, that's because of how disperse this might be? >> it's a little of dispersal because you would have to go after many different sites, but also, depending on the circumstances, you might have to fight your way in. the hope would be that as some of these sites come within the territory controlled by the free syrian army, they will invite in outsiders to assist them in securing the sites that they'll number negotiations with the custodians and so forth and this can be done peacefully, in which case the number of troops would be limited but some of the worst-case contingencies involve larger numbers. >> there were reports hezbollah set up camps next to these sites. how secure are the site? who is protecting them at this
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point? who is in charge? >> in charge, are elite troops, as far as we can tell, still loyal to assad, and more or less, we hope sitting tight and doing their job of maintaining-- managing the sites in a safe manner. what could happen in the case of some of these troops deserting the sites with hezbollah having training locations nearby, lots of contingencies can be imagined. so we have to in a way hope that at least these government troops are able to maintain their position and stay, in effect, loyal to their mission, perhaps even more so than the government. >> brown: that's what i assume when we just heard hillary clinton refer to the possible that president assad might lose control of the weapons, or who they would devolve to na sense. >> that's right purpose certainly, some will devolve into the region controlled by the rebels. but the hope is that the individual rebel groups that are operating near these sites will be ones that we are working with
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or that the jordanians are working with, and they will approach these sites carefully, and with the goal of maintaining security and ensuring that none of the material goes missing. there are a lot of sites and a lot of material. >> brown: when she says the fear, of course, is an-- i think her words were increasingly desperate president assad might turn to the weapons. that's the real fear. >> correct. there are some scenarios you can imagine where the weapons would be have been effective. the troops in the free syrian army are unprotected. so if the chemical weapon were used against them, the government troops would be able to probably overrun a position rather quickly. people would start to die and others would flee. you can anticipate this. you could have other place where's civilians might be implicated if there was an urban setting and a whole area of a city might evacuate for fear of what was coming. i think the counter to that is
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the threat against assad and the regime and the threat of intervention. >> brown: all right, leonard spector, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: and to an on-the- ground look at the syrian war. john irvine of "independent television news" and his camera man sean swan traveled to the idlib region in the north west part of the country and filed this report. >> reporter: he's among the injured in the battle of control-- these rebel fighters had seized a strategic building only to have it brought down on top of them by tank shells. the wounded quickly ferried. dusty but unscathed. this rebel said just minor setback. the man had trouble hearing because his ears ringing from explosions. minutes later we knew how he felt.
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a syrian army tank in the valley had spotted our position. where we were ( explosions ) the rebels fired back with all they had which wasn't much. a.k.-47s. against tanks you can see why this is such a slog. battle of attrition. syrian army still has most of the fire power. it may be slow going but nature of battle has changed.
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it used to be syrian army that laid siege, but now the other way round. the rebels own the countryside-- these people have been bombed back to the dark ages. their home destroyed by the assad regime and living in a roman byre. among many families in byzantine city. abandoned around 600 a.d. reoccupied in 2012 a.d. living in the remnants of an ancient fallen civilization they get to listen to the ongoing collapse of their own.
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>> ( translated ): what am i? a terrorist? my little child? may god curse assad's soul. >> ( translated ): he killed his own people. before we say, "yes, bashar." we don't want him. a president doesn't kill his own people. >> reporter: even here they've been bombed. rebels are struggling to answer the rebel threat. driving between villages. we heard the chatter of gunfire- - gunship prowled for targets. a week ago this refugee camp was a target for a mig jet.
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the regime would stoop to anything. back in roman ruins, there is despair. no reason for hope. they feel ignored and forgotten by the outside world. any faith they have left is in nothing earthly. >> ifill: next, the decline of coral reefs and the connections with rising levels of carbon dioxide. new reports this week show there were nearly 38 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted around the globe last year. that, among other things, is having a very real effect in places like the florida keys. hari sreenivasan traveled there recently, and filed this report for our series: "coping with climate change." >> sreenivasan: ken nedimyer has been diving in the florida keys almost his entire life. but the teeming coral reefs that he remembers from his early days
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of diving are now long gone. >> i would say it's maybe 20% of what it was. some places 5%. from what i remember seeing when i was you know young. >> sreenivasan: wow. >> and you know i remember seeing fields of elk horn coral that you couldn't see through it and you couldn't see beyond it and those same areas are dead you know 99% dead. >> sreenivasan: his memory is backed up by the facts. according to data from more than 100 monitoring stations in the florida keys, there has been a 44% decline in coral reefs over the past 20 years. on many caribbean reefs, it's even worse. the decline is up to 80% over the past three decades. >> there is a lot of things working against coral reefs right now. >> reporter: the 358 miles of reef along the florida coast have been struggling to adapt to a wide range of problems including overfishing and pollution stemming largely from increased human activity. that's why ken nedimyer is mobilizing small armies to help him restore the reefs.
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i joined nedimyer along with a group of ecotourists. these volunteers donate their vacation time, dive in and help reconstruct the corals that support the underwater ecosystems they come to see. nedimyer has built underwater nurseries where young endangered staghorn and elkhorn coral are allowed to mature for more than a year before being replanted on existing reefs. >> this is one of the corals that we planted a couple years ago. >> sreenivasan: the nurseries have been successful, growing a small forest of elkhorn coral that nedimyer and his volunteers almost cant replant fast enough. but there's a bigger challenge these corals face: the impact of increased carbon dioxide in the water. it's what scientists like chris langdon of the university of miami study. >> it's enough railroad cars stacked end to end to wrap around the earth seven times, that's how much carbon is going into the ocean every single year. >> sreenivasan: all that carbon has caused global sea surface temperatures to rise by about
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1.5 degrees fahrenheit over the last century according to the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. periods of high water temperature cause corals to bleach or expel the colorful algae that live in their tissue exposing their skeletons. but the co2 doesn't just warm the ocean, it also changes the p.h. level which measures how acidic the water is and shows that oceans are becoming corrosive. >> what's completely unique about what's going on now is the rate of change and that's what is so difficult for organisms. things are incredibly adaptable but the adaptation rate evolution takes time. >> reporter: acidification acts a lot like osteoporosis does in humans. but in marine animals it makes their shells and skeletons brittle. the more acidic the water, the harder it is for corals to grow their skeletons. that leaves them more susceptible throughout their lives to other stressors like disease. there is also evidence that its harder for corals to reproduce
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when the ocean is more acidic. >> that means that if a coral dies, there is less likelihood that a baby coral is going to be able to replace it in the future. >> sreenivasan: scientists have been running lab experiments to see how coral reefs will react to the dual impacts of increased warming and acidification. so what's happening inside, why are they in these tanks? are there differences between the tanks? >> we are controlling light to the amount of light that's coming into the system or into the tanks and we're able to control that and then we are also controlling the amount of co2 that's in the tanks so we are pumping in co2 to elevate it to conditions that are predicted for 2100. >> sreenivasan: so these corals are in a way living in the future? >> yeah, that's a good way to think about it. they are essentially living in the future. >> sreenivasan: it will be a tough future. langdon finds that when corals are exposed to the expected co2 levels for 2100, bleaching occurs 50% more often. >> elevated co2 can aggravate the sensitivity to temperature. it actually lowers resistance to
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temperature. what that means is that they can show signs of bleaching at a lower temperature than they would have before. so the combination of elevated temperature and co2 is worse than just elevated temperature alone. >> sreenivasan: but he adds that there are some coral species that may be able to adapt to high co2 and that corals can recover if p.h. levels can be raised. although that's a challenge requiring balancing the acidity locally while also reducing global co2. the decline of coral reefs has ecological and economic consequences. coral reefs are the most biodiverse ecosystem in the world. with more than 500 species of fish living on florida's reefs, less coral has a ripple effect up the food chain says chris bergh director of the florida nature conservancy. >> the fish and the lobster and all these other animals that are so important to our economy and for the environment.
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they depend upon the coral growth and coral reef and if you have that much of a loss it really has a cascading negative impact. >> sreenivasan: florida is no stranger to storms, and healthy reefs buffer up to 90% of the force of incoming waves providing shoreline protection to people and property from storm surge and erosion. then there's the dollars and cents. more than 33,000 jobs in the florida keys alone are supported by ocean recreation and tourism which accounts for 58% of the local economy and an average $2.3 billion a year. >> it is the lifeblood of our economy in the keys. we get millions of visitors a year who spend millions of hours out on the ocean diving and fishing on our coral reefs. >> sreenivasan: amy slates dive resort depends on coral, and the divers who come to see them >> because we deal so much with nature and with diving its
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it's probably life or death for my business, i hate to say it, but if the coral reefs thrive and grow, the more wildlife you have and the nicer it will be for everyone. and the more the divers will want to come here. >> sreenivasan: divers like the volunteers helping ken nedimyer rebuild reefs. >> i think our effort is, you know, it's certainly not the answer. it's a part of the solution, it's doing something, it's buying us time. >> sreenivasan: time may be is running out for coral reefs in florida and elsewhere. >> woodruff: hari's next story is about the impact warmer and more acidic waters have on shellfish. you can preview that and previous reports on our "coping with climate change" page on our website. >> ifill: finally tonight, remembering jazz giant dave brubeck. the pianist and composer died today after a seven-decade career that spanned much of the post-war jazz world. born in california in 1920, he
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and his quartet would become known for rhythmically challenging compositions and for bringing jazz to a wider audience. brubeck recorded dozens of albums. he wrote opera, ballet and even a contemporary mass. among his many awards was a 2009 kennedy center honor. his 1959 album "time out" was the first jazz l.p. to sell a million copies. it contained his signature work "take five". here is that theme performed in three different eras. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪
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>> ifill: brubeck would have turned 92 tomorrow. for more on his legacy, we turn again to jeff. >> brown: and for that, we're joined by another leading figure in the world of jazz. george wein is the founder of the legendary newport jazz festival and the new orleans jazz and heritage festival. mr. wein, welcome to you. you go back a long way with dave brubeck. tell us about when you first heard his music in the early 50s. what stood out? >> dave opened in my club, storyville, 1952 i think was the year. nobody knew him. we opened, had about 20 or 30 people in the club. by the end of the week, it was full because it communicated-- people went out of the club and told everybody this fantastic music was happening.
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he went from right on there, the next 60 years, never lost his popularity. he was one of the most important figures of all the great figures in jazz in the 50s and latter half of the 20th century. listening to take 5 was like solving a puzzle or untying a knot because people were hearing this melody in 5-4, and they didn't know what they were hearing. once they solved it, they never forgoot got it and it became a hit for the next 50 years. >> brown: how big a moment was that, especially with take 5. it was a national phenomenon on the pop charts, well beyond just the jazz audience. >> nobody had ever heard 5-4 in a popular sense. everything of 4-4, beating one-- you know, like rock 'n' roll or funk music, on the 2 and 4. and all of a sudden, something came along that you never heard before. but if you listened and you
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solved it, you were humming the melody, and you were beating your foot, and it was jazz. and it has affected music ever since. >> brown: where did his love of jazz come from? he came from a sort of unusual jazz background from rural california-- i read that he grew up taking to all different kinds of music, including classical music. >> that was one of the things that made his music appeal to more than just the average jazz fan. he had a classical background, and he utilizeed this. he never played a lot of classical music, but he utilizeed this feeling and his alternate rhythms that he used, niz left hand, his right hand-- i of he just played if a way nobody had ever heard. but it communicated. that's the most important thing. his music communicated even though he played only the music hemented to play. >> brown: and what was he like as a person? what was he like to work with?
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>> he was the ultimate in elegance and excellence. we communicated with everyone-- i use the word "communication." he respected his musicians. he respected his family. he respected the promoters and the producers that worked for him, that he worked for, and he respected his public. and that's the way he was. because of that, you respected him. you never gave up a feel of love for this man because he was absolutely wonderful. >> brown: you know, you started by talkin talking about, but i gather he was playing until fairly recently, even for you, right? >> dave was there in the very-- in 2011, last year, his sons, who are brilliant musicians, who are playing, and dave came hoping to play with his sons. and then we met in the car just
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a few minutes-- i got a call that he wasn't feel well. we sat there for 20 minutes. we didn't say anything. we just talked, talked about anything. he said, "george, fican't play up to the standards of which i believe in myself, i can't play, so i'm not going to play anymore." and i think that was the end as far as his playing career. and it's a loss we can never, ever replace. >> brown: just in our last 30 seconds, mr. wein, how would you sum up his legacy, his influence today? >> i think that his legacy is that he could play jazz, which is a difficult music sometimes for the public to accept, and he could get the public to understand and accept it, and he never lost that feeling with the public. from the minute he became known, he was famous and drew-- filled up houses all over the world right until the end. >> brown: all right, george wein on the life and music of the great dave brubeck.
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thanks so much. >> thank you. >> brown: and you can listen to dave brubeck perform "take five" along with other classics on our website. >> ifill: again, the other major developments of the day: citigroup-- one of the nation's largest banks-- announced it will lay off more than 11,000 employees. president obama warned republicans not to try linking the fiscal cliff negotiations to an increase in the federal debt ceiling early next year. timothy geithner says the administration absolutely it prepared to let the economy go over the fiscal cliff unless the republicans accept higher tax rates on the healthy. and the southern philippines struggled to recover from a typhoon that killed nearly 300 people. and what does a day in the life of public buses, trains and subways look like? the answer is part of our science roundup online. hari sreenivasan has the details. >> sreenivasan: the image resembles a lite-bright time lapse. find those pictures and our conversation with a software developer who set out to visualize the 24-hour cycle of
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urban public transit systems. that's on our homepage. an international telecommunications conference in dubai aims to set new rules for the internet. what's at stake? we take a look in the rundown. and on making sense, economics correspondent paul solman argues both sides of the capital gains tax debate. all that and more is on our website judy? >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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captioning sponsored by wpbt >> this is n.b.r. >> susie: good evening, everyone. i'm susie gharib. citigroup announces major layoffs, cutting 11,000 jobs. is this a sign of things to come in corporate america? >> tom: i'm tom hudson. president obama tries to win over top business leaders, warning republicans are holding the global economy hostage over the fiscal cliff. >> susie: and apple shares get


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